Study: Aging may be reversible

As we age, our bodies don't always function as well as they once did, taking more time to heal, giving up on preserving skin elasticity, and insisting upon sprouting gray hair.

Scientists at Salk Institute for Biological Studies have made notable progress in putting such shenanigans to an end.

A press release from the institute announces, "...scientists at the Salk Institute have found that intermittent expression of genes normally associated with an embryonic state can reverse the hallmarks of old age. This approach, which not only prompted human skin cells in a dish to look and behave young again, also resulted in the rejuvenation of mice with a premature aging disease, countering signs of aging and increasing the animals' lifespan..."

The specific malady affecting the mice was progeria, which causes both rodents and humans to, "show many signs of aging including DNA damage, organ dysfunction and dramatically shortened lifespan."

Using skin cells taken from affected mice, researchers, "induced the Yamanaka factors for a short duration."

When that showed evidence of the desired outcome they then, "used the same short reprogramming method during cyclic periods in live mice with progeria."

That endeavor was successful as well, and the test subjects, "looked younger; their cardiovascular and other organ function improved and—most surprising of all—they lived 30 percent longer, yet did not develop cancer."

The method is not quite ready for human trials, but the team anticipates it will be in roughly 10 years.